Surowiecki has posted several excellent blog entries of late. In another, he again makes mention of David Brooks, namely DB's belief that it would be politically "suicidal" for Obama to resort to reconciliation. Surowiecki rightly says nonsense, stating:
[W]here is the evidence that ordinary voters remember how laws were passed and reward or punish politicians based on that? On the contrary, voters judge politicians (to the extent that they make rational decisions) based on whether the laws they passed worked or not....Political victory on this issue isn’t going to be determined by how the law gets enacted. It’ll be determined by what happens once it is enacted.Like Bill Kristol, 99.9% of the time it's best to do opposite what Brooks is advising. But more so, with Republicans refusing to negotiate in good faith concerning health care reform, their stiff-armed resistance serves as an opportunity for the Democrats. Use this issue to highlight the stark us-versus-them dynamic that has unfortunately taken hold over the last several weeks, to make it plainly evident for all to see via a go-it-alone course of action in crafting a reform bill. This way the Democrats will get all the credit.
Recall the numerous Republicans that resisted the passing of the stimulus money...? Recall again the numerous Republicans that eventually took credit for the stimulus money making its way through their respective states...? Deep down, they indeed fear that passage of health care reform without their involvement will leave them out in the cold when inevitably such reform is well-received, and in a year or two or three opposing Democrats can score huge political points by making it clear Republican X or Y voted against any beneficial change.
Continued resistance by Republicans should be treated and embraced by Dems in same spirit as Clint Eastwood's line, "Go ahead, make my day."
Surowiecki also writes about how many are advising Obama to behave more like FDR and simply ignore the GOP when it comes to health care reform. On this front I urge everyone to listen to the first segment of Thom Hartmann's Sept. 3rd radio show, where he specifically discusses this point and plays a tape of FDR making bold, emphatic statements.
I'm sympathetic towards this view, even though some may ask, "Where will this defiance get Obama in the long run?" I ask, what has his desire to work with Republicans gotten him up till now? Not much, and I would submit it's made him a weaker and less admirable president to a good number of the people who voted for him, in large part explaining the wane in his poll numbers. If he were to suddenly stand up to the GOP with take-charge backbone and stern language, I bet you'd see his poll numbers spike up dramatically.
By the same token, if the Dems go the recon route, meaning give the big FU to Republicans, then the public option should be included. To leave it out and still say the heck with the GOP is a transparent nod to the health care lobby.
And I thought with Obama's bottoms-up, grassroots win last November that he was less susceptible to being bought and sold by corporate interests -- can we see some evidence of that, please?!